The first time Obi-Wan saw the Sith, he was not ready.
Upon being stranded on Tatooine, the restless young man could only wait in the ship along with Queen Amidala and the rest of the crew. Master Qui-Gon briefly communicated with him from the settlement area they had spotted, and it was only a few days he had to withstand, but Force he was getting such cabin fever on the tiny ship.
He would meditate to soothe his anxiety and frustration, and help around the ship whenever it was needed, which was all he really could do. So when Qui-Gon arrived with the parts they needed, he was incredibly relieved. Yet, Qui-Gon returned to the village firmly deciding to adopt another lifeform - because of course, he did.
Later, he did not expect a scruff of a boy to race onboard in a panic, claiming to the captain that his Master was in trouble.
Disbelieving, he turned and true to the young boy's word, he could see Qui-Gon locked in combat with a humanoid, black-robed figure through the glass, emerald and ruby blades clashing.
"Take off," Obi-Wan ordered the pilot.
His heart clenched as he helplessly watched the cloaked warrior push his Master back, a faint cloud of sand engulfing the two. Luckily, the pilot was sharp and understanding, briskly coming to the Jedi Masters rescue, but keeping a distance from the brawl.
Once Qui-Gon hopped on board and was safe, Obi-Wan could release the breath he didn't know he was holding. He hurried over to his Master, the little boy accompanying him. The poor man was sprawled out in a heap, panting heavily. Sweat coated his face and he could barely speak between breaths. Behind them, R2-D2 gave a troubled whistle.
When his Master and the boy - Anakin Skywalker was his name - left the room and Obi-Wan was alone, he sat down to ponder Qui-Gon's words. How, he thought to himself, did I not sense an attacker? Of course, since he was still a Padawan his control of the Force was limited, but the dark warrior was right there and somehow it slipped past him. He should be glad, really. From the moment they landed on the scorcher of a planet he was dying to leave, and now they were. Especially the risk Qui-Gon took with trusting the boy. And how the Jedi Master escaped the attack unscathed.
But leaving the dustball felt wrong.
His gaze dropped to his hands that were clasped together. Somehow, Obi-Wan urged to go back, to return to Tatooine. His brow creased in worry. Why? he thought. Was it because he wished he could go back and help his master? Guilt? Fear?
Something was calling him back there. As if some unseen force dug its hooks into him, reeling him back to the desert planet. Obi-Wan shook his head, that could hardly be it. Even with his novice skills of the Force, he would sense another change or undercurrent if there was one. The sensation would melt away by itself and he would focus on the original task at hand. At the corner of his eye, he saw movement at the door. He went to get up, to go to his Master and inquire about their next move.
But when he looked up, he was no longer on the ship.
When he looked up, he was surrounded by sand as far as the eye could see.
Obi-Wan felt the colour drain from his face, as he found himself staring at the back of the cloaked figure, his Master's foe. His mind quickly caught up to his eyes and he realised he was seeing Tatooine, whether in a vision or in the present time he couldn't apprehend but he was here. The robed assassin turned, sensing him, and Obi-Wan felt his soul being absorbed by the two golden orbs that watched him, not revealing a smidge of surprise or shock. Obi-Wan flinched before he could stop himself, unable to tear his eyes away from the fierce stare.
It radiated darkness.
A sandy breeze swept past the two, unsettling black cloth and caressing the Light warriors face. Obi-Wan peered into the hood of the creature, faintly seeing patches of red skin and black markings before he decided he should probably reach for his lightsaber if he didn't want to be decapitated simply because the shock made him freeze up.
The golden-eyed warrior tilted his head, and just before he could touch his belt, the world swayed around him and then was drained away from his eyes and Obi-Wan found himself back onboard the ship again.
He whirled around and Qui-Gon was standing by the door, frowning at him, expression full of concern.
"Master," Obi-Wan responded, head spinning, "I... I'm sorry, I - "
"Obi-Wan, are you alright?" he asked, genuine worry in his tone.
"Yes," he said slowly, "I just... I don't like flying."
"Ah," Qui-Gon said, eyes crinkling with a half-smile. "Well that's quite unfortunate, you would make a fair pilot."
He patted his Padawan's shoulder, "It'll pass," he said, and proceeded to step into the cockpit, presumably to speak to the captain.
"I hope so." Obi-Wan whispered, feeling absolutely horrible for lying to his beloved teacher.
* * *
He dreamed of the assassin. The winds of Tatooine howling as he stood before the warrior, his piercing eyes observing him. He was certainly not human, Obi-Wan gathered, but a near-human species.
In the dream, the cloaked fighter reached out to him with a gloved hand. Obi-Wan cringed away from the incoming touch, stumbling back as if the fingers would scald him. Fury flashed in the assassin's eyes, and his nostrils flared, but he lowered the outstretched arm. Here Obi-Wan caught a better glance at his face; crimson skin was patterned over with black tattoos that were consistently symmetrical throughout the entirety of his face. The dark markings trailed down his forehead, scratched over his cheekbones, and consumed his jaw and the skin surrounding the golden eyes. He was the closest creature to demon Obi-Wan had ever seen.
Neither said a word, both of them drinking in the appearance of the other.
Obi-Wan's mind screamed at him to do something, say something, anything. But all he could manage was to stand there and gape openly, horror growing in his chest. Was what Qui-Gon said true? Could this possibly be a Sith Lord? Had the warriors that had been wiped out so long ago returned?
This creature, whatever it was, had the eyes of a Sith. The yellow, red-rimmed eyes of the Dark side. His broad shoulders shook for a moment, eyes bubbling with an emotion Obi-Wan couldn't place and leather gloves creaked with the clenching of fists. His red and black brow wrinkled with a frown, darkened teeth gleaming past tattooed lips and for a moment, the Padawan expected him to blow up in a furious rage. Then the attacker's eyes closed and the shaking stopped.
And Obi-Wan was hurled out of the dream world and into reality.